Welcome, Pr. Kris!
In June of 2021, I wrote an article for the newsletter called “Farewell, Pastor Manda”, so it’s a blessing to now, a year and a half later, be writing an article titled “Welcome, Pastor Kris!” I am so thankful to our Call Committee, the Executive Council, and Christina, and so many others who helped us transition smoothly to where we are now! Our community made it over the bridge, and as Pastor Kris reminded us on his first Sunday, it’s time to think about what we’re looking for in this new beginning for our congregation.
We began our January Council meeting by introducing ourselves to Pastor Kris, and telling him what we’re looking for when we come to church. It was such a great reminder of all the things that church is - a place for individual spiritual growth, a safe place to find support, and a way to serve others - in the congregation and the community.
As we look ahead to this upcoming year, we will continue many of our same activities and ministries, but there will also be new ideas and new ways to get involved. I’m excited to see the way our congregation will continue to grow and thrive, and hope you will all join us in whatever ways you feel led to do so. It’s an exciting and rejuvenating time to reflect on God’s calling for all of us.
- Rachel Stehouwer Visscher
-To those I have already met, thank you for your generous and kind welcome. And for those of you who haven’t met me yet, I’m Kristofer Rhude (he/him), CGS’s new pastor. I am so excited to have begun my ministry with you last week, and I am deeply honored to serve you all in the next chapter of this incredible congregation’s life.
In the coming weeks and months I’ll be working to get to know each of you as individuals, and collectively as a community. Of course, you’ll also have opportunities to get to know me—and I wanted to start by telling you a little bit about my calling as a pastor.
In considering my call, a Biblical verse which has been important to me since I was a child quickly came to mind. I hope and intend that at my best, my ministry might reflect the direction of Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”
“Doing justice,” is central to my call as I believe that the church can be an incredible source for peace and justice in our hurting world. In my ministry up to this point, that’s looked like walking with undocumented people, leading anti-racism efforts, and working for the full love and affirmation of LGBTQ+ people throughout the church. In “loving kindness,” I hear my call to build community. I think this is one of the most important roles a pastor can play—to connect people to one another, and to God. In all of this work, I strive to “walk humbly with God”—to be conscious of my constant need for God’s grace through Christ, and to recognize that our God is both unimaginably complex and immensely mysterious. I hope that you’ll find that when it comes to matters of faith, I tend to have more questions than I have answers, and I’d rather live in a place of holy possibility than confining certainty.
I know it won’t always be easy, and that my ministry won’t always live up to such scriptural goals. Still, as often as possible and together as a community of Christ, I look forward to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with you. And as we begin this journey, please know that I am here for you. If there is anything I can do to support you, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone, email, or in-person at church.
- Pastor Kristofer Rhude
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.